Association’s 6th AGM - Saturday, July 26
Plan to attend the Association’s 6th Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Saturday morning, July 26th at the Municipal Hall in Messines. This year, we have a special guest speaker, Mr. Michel Leclair. Mr. Leclair is a naturalist who, for thirty years, has been in charge of beaver management for Gatineau Park in the National Capital Region. He has been featured on the CBC’s “The Nature of Things” and is an internationally recognized expert in his field. At the invitation of the Association, Mr. Leclair recently visited several beaver dams in the watershed. He will share his observations and recommendations, and respond to questions from the audience. Concerns about beavers have been raised at previous AGMs so you will want to hear what Mr. Leclair has to say.
The AGM is your best chance to learn about the health of our lakes and about what your Association has been doing to help preserve and protect them. The Association President, Don Karn, will report on the many projects the organization has undertaken during the past year.
More importantly, the AGM will give you a chance to raise questions and voice your concerns regarding the state of the watershed. Such input is critical to the Association’s meeting its mission and remaining relevant.
The AGM is also an opportunity for you to renew your annual membership if you have not already done so. Those of you who wish to play a more active role in the Association will have a chance to indicate your willingness to do so and/or to let your names stand for election to the Board of Directors.
The doors open at 9:30 for registration and membership renewal. The meeting begins at 10 and will end around noon. Please visit our website, www.associationbluesea.org, for more details. Be advised that various supporting documents, such as the draft minutes to last year’s meeting, the agenda, the President’s Report, and the Treasurer’s Report will be posted to the website prior to the meeting.
The Youth Project: A Great Success!
Marlène Thonnard - the Administrative Council’s Youth Program Coordinator - was in the classroom this spring, informing grade 4, 5, and 6 students at the school in Messines about the issues facing our watersheds. With the full support of their teachers, Marlène conducted various activities that helped the students understand the dynamics of the local ecosystem and the importance of wetlands in maintaining the health of our waterways.
On June 19th, these same students participated in a “rally quiz” on the bicycle path bordering Blue Sea Lake. During this rally, they were tested on their newly acquired knowledge and were able to view first-hand several of the challenges facing our lakes, including the proliferation of invasive species and the growth of periphyton. They also saw why it is important to revegetate the shoreline and to take other measures to protect our watershed. After the rally, they enjoyed a pontoon tour of the lake thanks to the generosity of several volunteers. During this tour, they were able to reinforce their knowledge with the assistance of a facilitator. Through the collaboration of local artist, Sylvie Grégoire, the students concluded their day by translating their vision of the watershed into a beautiful mural.
The Association spends a great deal of time and energy encouraging residents and cottagers to do more to protect our watershed. Because it will take years to repair the damage we have done to our ecosystem, the Association is also working hard to raise the environmental awareness of the next generation so that they do not repeat our mistakes. Fortunately, from what we saw on June 19th, that generation appears to have a natural sensitivity to and appreciation for the health of our ecosystem.
Forum national sur les lacs
Don Karn, Dick Ryan, and Paul Ouimet represented the Association at a provincial forum on lakes held at Mont Tremblant from June 11 to 13. This event, which was organized by the Quebec Coalition of Regional Environmental Councils and the Regional Environmental Council of the Laurentians focused on the health of the province’s lakes, providing participants with an excellent overview of the state of our waterways, the challenges they face, and the work that must be done to protect them.
The forum was most informative as it covered a wide range of topics. It was clear from several presentations that lakes throughout the province are under threat due to the inflow of excessive nutrients (eg: phosphorus) which is often attributable to human activity. That inflow has led to the growth of periphyton on underwater rocks and has dramatically increased the growth of aquatic plants near the shoreline.
The forum featured over 30 presentations on a wide variety of lake-related issues. Details regarding these presentations as well as copies of the supporting power point slides are available on the forum’s website.
The forum also included training and certification on RSVL’s water sampling and transparency measurement protocols. Don Karn participated in this training and earned his RSVL certification. Don was also featured in a video prepared by the forum organizers and did a superb job representing our Association. Well done!
Blue-Green Algae Blooms – Recognize, Report, and Prevent
As reported in the November 2013 edition of Shorelines, there were several sightings of blue-green algae blooms in the watershed last year, including a very significant bloom on Blue Sea Lake in late September. These blooms can be toxic so it is imperative that they be reported to the Quebec Ministry of the Environment on a timely basis.
If you do spot what appears to be a blue-green algae bloom, report it immediately in accordance with the instructions found on our website. If you have any concerns or questions as to what to do, contact your municipality or an Association director.
The only way to prevent blue-green algae blooms is to reduce the inflow of nutrients into our waterways. You can help do this by restoring/maintaining shoreline vegetation; eliminating the use of chemical fertilizers, compost, or manure on your yards; using only phosphate-free products; and ensuring the proper use and functioning of your septic system.